The Non-conventional Ventilatory Team (NVT) – headed by Prof. Karel Roubík, a member of the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering at Czech Technical University in Prague – has developed a prototype of the cost-effective CoroVent lung ventilator within a very short time. It is intended to help prevent the collapse of the Czech health care system expected in the event of a steep rise in the number of coronavirus infections. Tomáš Halva, Managing Director of the Beckhoff Czech subsidiary, emphasizes the urgency of the project, which is supported from many different sources, including crowdfunding: "We don't have time to waste and have to deliver the functional device in a few days, in weeks at the most. The whole idea was born only about 10 days ago and the really special thing is that a prototype became available for testing within only one week."
The development team consists of about 15 experts from various companies and universities, selected by Prof. Karel Roubík and his colleagues through personal contacts and via the Internet. These include Tomáš Halva: "I know one of the initiators personally and, based on his corresponding Facebook post, I called him immediately and asked how Beckhoff could help. After all, this project will help many people and hopefully also save lives. In addition, Prof. Karel Roubík is the best expert in the field of lung ventilators in the Czech Republic and has already successfully developed such devices for various applications in the past."
Technically, according to Tomáš Halva, it's all about bringing together expertise from medical, electrical and pneumatic systems – and doing so in the right way. The ventilator is specially designed for the treatment of patients with coronavirus infection, for which not every lung ventilator is suitable. In addition, limiting the ventilator to the functions necessary for coronavirus treatment and relying on free development services from the experts significantly reduce the costs of the device.
In this team, Beckhoff is responsible for the control system, which ensures very simple device operation and thus also enables use by untrained personnel. Tomáš Halva explains: "As free support for the project, we designed the control system and programmed the control program, including the visualization, within only one weekend. Special thanks for this go to my two colleagues Matúš Adamec and Zdenek Kosour, who are both great application engineers and programmers. But the rest of our technical team also helped us a lot because they took over other tasks from Matúš and Zdenek. I am really proud of the whole team, and I would like to thank them very much for this special effort!”